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Even *I* Am Bored!

I feel like I should have blogged sooner…sorry. I’ve had super limited internet for the past 6 weeks; due to a series of stupid problems. I’ve been using mostly the TracFone data which costs $10 a gb! I’ve also tried the library, but since it’s closed, the signal is really weak and slow when I’m sitting in the car trying to use it. I finally had to purchase a new phone and new internet plan. 

In the midst of Social Distancing, I find it amusing that my life hasn’t changed much at all. As an introvert, I pretty much live Socially Distant all the time! Still I feel bored right now, and wishing I had TV to watch. I guess it’s because I CAN’T go anywhere instead of just not wanting to. Am I the only one whose house is spotless these days?!  This is a long post but maybe y’all are so bored, it’ll be entertaining.

Here’s the view from my front door. Pretty nice, eh? Well except for the junk. It’s the LONG-RANGE view I was referring to, LOL!

door view

 

I was very worried for the first couple weeks of virus hysteria, as I was out of money and couldn’t join in the buying frenzy. I finally made it to Walmart’s Senior hour (6 a.m.) on Tuesday and even though there wasn’t much to buy, I feel better about having something on hand. I haven’t eaten processed food for over a year so I didn’t have any non-perishable foods!  I managed to spend $80 on what I consider to be “crap” food that I hope I won’t have to eat. My biggest worry now is that too many truckers will get sick and the supply chain will fail, and I’ll run out of food. I think I’ve got about a month’s worth right now, though I’d be real short on protein and would have to eat rice and beans; yuck. I have about 120 gallons of water and 100# of propane. 

I’ve been nurturing a new sourdough starter for about three months and have just started to make bread again! What a joy! I love to make bread and I love to feed people. I’ve been giving it away but now I wonder if anyone will want bread that someone else has touched, even though I made sure to wash my hands thoroughly every time I handled the dough or bread. I still don’t eat bread at present but I bought some more flour in case I’m forced to go back to eating bread. I miss it and won’t mind too much if that happens, though if I start gaining weight I’ll be REALLY mad.  (85# lost so far and still going) I finally passed the top end of the “normal” range. I was within a couple pounds of it for two months, always thinking it was gonna happen any day. 

I’ve also started my hydroponic lettuce again, I have two plantings of seedlings, one week apart. Romaine and some kind of leaf lettuce, plus I’ve started some bell pepper and tomato seeds. I’d really rather get pepper and tomato starts but in case I don’t get out to get any, maybe I can grow some from seeds. I’ve not had any luck getting pepper seeds to germinate, so we’ll see. The lettuces are happy little things that sprout right up in only about two days, and right away start turning their little faces towards the sun. So cute! Because it’s the windy season, I’ve had to rig up a clear plastic windbreak so they can be outside on my patio table. I’m hoping the nasty lettuce-eating critters won’t be able to climb up the metal legs of the table and murder my babies like last year, when they were just placed out on the ground. I cut the ends off some organic celery and romaine and put them in water too (changing the water daily) and they are already pushing up new growth.  Here’s the windbreak and plants:

Plant Table

I’ve been doing some projects that I already have materials for. I’ve had a small bookcase from Wal-Mart for awhile and was reluctant to assemble it because I thought it would be a huge hassle but I finally did it, and it was easy and it fits the area next to the door perfectly! Now I can have undies & socks in little bins and don’t have to shuffle boxes around to get to them. 

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A couple weeks ago I got a friend to help me move the refrigerator into place! I made a huge mistake on the outside vent placement though and the fridge is up too high off the floor. When the freezer door is open, I have to stand on a footstool to see what’s in it! And it looks stupid, that’s the worst thing. But it’s not fixable; the bottom of the fridge needs to line up with the bottom of that vent in order to service and get at the fridge controls from the back. Sigh. My first real major blooper.  I’m sure it won’t be the last. I really hate that RV refrigerators aren’t magnetic. How the heck are you supposed to plaster the front with magnets?? Here’s my first refrigerator art, entitled “Out on a limb”. 

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I’d been using the fridge as an ice chest but when the order came for staying home, I moved everything to an ice chest on the back-side of the house., where it’s always shady. Out there, a block of ice will last 5-6 days but the fridge in the house, only 2-3 days. One of these days I’ll get batteries and be able to get the fridge hooked up to propane! Boy that’ll be great, to not have to use ice and deal with melted icewater all the time. And have a freezer!! That would really be helpful right now, when I can’t just go get more meat & perishables every 4-5 days. That’s one of the first things I’ll do if I get the stimulus money, IF the RV parts store and the gulf cart store are open. Somehow I doubt I’ll be able to get the batteries. 

Because the fridge is now in place, I also have…..a CLOSET!!! Wow. I need to put something up as a closet rod, then I could have most of my clothes in one building.  

I put up a crude little shelf in front of one of the windows so the lettuces can see out.

Eventually I’ll have shelves lining the inside of both sides of the closet, between the studs. Today I made one shelf with a backer bar (since I don’t have a wall on that side of the closet yet) for my bedside table stuff…glasses holder, flashlight, thermometer, water bottle. On the other closet wall I’ve done two shelves for canned goods. 

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I was given a little round handicap shower chair that I’m not using since my shower isn’t operative yet. I’ve extended the legs to their full height and it’s a perfect little table for one! Eventually I’ll have a drop-down table between the living room chairs but first I have to do the wall finish. So……possibly never! 

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I really love my bedroom/living room setup. During the day, the bed is folded up against the wall, a homemade Murphy bed. That reveals two comfy chairs and a storage hassock that acts as a table & footstool. At night, the bed gets lowered down over the top of the chairs and it’s just a short two steps up to the bed! It’s working out really great. And it’s not dangerously high; if I sit on the edge of the bed and put my feet down, they are not much more than a foot from the floor. So I can easily just step onto the bottom step of the little stepladder. 

I put together these really cute solar mason jar lights and I love them! They cast an amazing amount of light onto the walkway at night! It was a cheap kit from Amazon containing 6 jar lids with solar panels on the top, connected to a small amount of fairy lights. I got 6 shepherd’s crooks at Dollar Tree and they’re perfect! Love love love them. And they actually cast enough light to see where to walk! I had a photo of them lit up at night but it’s on the old phone and I don’t have any way of retrieving it anymore. One of these days I’ll have a real walkway instead of old pieces of plywood.

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A couple weeks ago I noticed that one of those sheets of plywood walkway was sticking up on both ends so I cleverly just flipped it over. Voila, all fixed! Then I walked on it and found out why it had been placed that way…….took two steps, got a nail in each foot! That plywood is full of small ringed flooring nails!! They barely penetrated but I thought I’d better go get a tetanus shot. Good thing I’m so much lighter now, if I’d been at my former weight I’d probably still be stuck standing on that plywood! 

I’m hungry for some flowers. If not for the new travel rules, I’d have gone to Lowes and gotten me something pretty. Now I have to be content to watch my cute baby lettuces grow. 

A camping friend, Patricia Parker, sent me this amazing painting of my house!! Isn’t it the cutest? I treasure it! 

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I went over and met my new neighbor last week. I’ve been hearing the tap tap tap of his hammer for several days. He was up on his roof so we kept a good distance. He’s an older gent from Wisconsin who’s building an 8×8 shack to live in. Seems nice but doesn’t appear to have any knowledge of building. It’s foundation is several stacks of small 2×4 pieces! It’s all 2×4’s….walls, roof and floor. I’m thinking a 2×4 doesn’t actually have a span of 8’ as a floor joist but I’m not sure. He’s going to have a leaky roof for sure but I didn’t tell him that. I’ll be really surprised if our high winds don’t blow it off the “foundation” soon too. Oh well, at least it’s small and will be easy to fix. UPDATE: I went past there yesterday and the entire structure is gone! Apparently he has dismantled it and hauled everything away, or else it blew away. Huh! 

Another mystery is the mouse situation here. I have a 5 gallon bucket partially filled with water pretty close to the outside house wall, and in the past week, 22 mice have committed suicide by drowning! I wish I had a critter-cam to see how the heck they’re getting in there. Swan diving off the roof? Somehow climbing up the house wall and jumping?? And WHY?! There must be zillions of the darn things around here. Every morning there are 1-4 dead mice in the bucket. Last night when I walked Roxie, there was one dead and one still alive. There was only a couple inches of water in the bucket and the poor thing was standing up on his hind legs to keep his cute little face out of the water. So of course I had to get him out of there. I thought about doing some teeny-tiny artificial respiration but decided not. He didn’t make it. And now you know why I had to stop going fishing. Too much empathy for the suffering of other creatures. And yes, fish DO feel pain!! They put an irritant on their lips and the fish kept rubbing their lips on the sand in the bottom of the tank. But I’m still going to keep the bucket there; I put more water in it so they won’t have to suffer for so long. 

I hope everyone is being good and staying home as much as possible! Stay healthy, y’all!

 

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Arizona DIY Micro House DIY Tiny House Micro House Off-grid living Owner Built Tiny House Tiny Homes Tiny House Uncategorized

Moving Right Along……

Last week I had some excellent helpers come to visit! Tom Warfield and Donna Morey are both fellow members of the AZ A-Frame Campers group (same kind of camper I have).  Boy, did we get a lot done! Tom can do ANYTHING, and he does it well, which was a nice surprise after Tyler’s work.

Donna arrived on Wednesday and right away there was a problem with her battery system. That’s bad when you’re boondocking!  I loaned her my Buddy heater and a couple 1# propane cylinders for the night. I’m glad I picked it and a smaller Coleman SportCat heater up from the storage unit! Then around 9 pm that first night, I ran out of propane and went out to change the tank. I got it all hooked up and SSSSSSSS! The hose had developed a bad leak.  So I went without heat that night. I could have gone and gotten one of the propane cylinders from Donna but then her heater would have run out and she’d be cold. I figured I’m probably more used to the cold than her, so I toughed it out. It wasn’t too bad; I think it was 43 inside the camper in the morning. I had gotten a spare comforter out of  the car and I just kept under the covers and I actually slept better than I usually do!  Good to know, but I really don’t think I care to trade good sleep for warmth. The next night I used the little SportCat heater. It only puts out 1500 btu’s but kept the camper at 54 degrees, not too bad.  Friday my friend Jeff Cox went to town and he brought me back a new propane pigtail.

Tom arrived on Thursday and right away went to work diagnosing Donna’s battery problem (a bad converter). He bypassed something-or-other and made it so Donna would have power for heat at night, and each day he charged her battery with his generator. He also repaired my camper door that kept trying to fall off! It was coming out of the C-channel frame so he used pop rivets and a metal plate to hold it all together. When the new propane pigtail arrived, Tom installed that too. What a handy guy!

Donna and I worked on insulating the bedroom/dining/living room area. That was probably the hardest place in the house to do, as by the time I got to that studwall I was nearly out of 2×4’s, so I used some that were really badly bowed and/or twisted. So cutting rigid foam insulation to fit the bowed studs was a real adventure. And we needed 3 layers in there to fill the cavities: two 1.5″ and one .5″ thicknesses.  Tom set about with the Great Stuff Pro gun and ran a bead of foam along every rafter and filling all the gaps. They call that “poor man’s blown in foam” because it makes an airtight seal. Boy the Great Stuff Pro gun works SO much better than those nasty aerosol cans! You have way more control over the size of the stream, and when you let up on the trigger, it stops coming out, unlike the aerosols that keep drooling out foam for 5 minutes afterward.

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I have NO idea why Tom looks like a giant and I look like a dwarf in this photo! He’s not THAT tall, and I’m not THAT short!!

Here I am, working hard! Rasping off a piece of styrofoam to fit the wall cavity better.

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It’s hard to tell but I am completely covered with white foam dust!

The next day Tom installed the two vents in the back of the house for the refrigerator. That’s something I’d have been scared to do; cut into the house wall!  He drilled holes for the wiring and also pulled all the rough wiring. Got my wall bed built with his engineering brain figuring out how to accomplish what I wanted, and finished installing the deadbolt lock on the door. We built the drop ceiling for the bedroom area, and he wired a new 7-way camper plug on my car! The cover on the old one had broken, it was falling off and the plug receptacle part was so full of mud, it never would have worked again!  I think that might be all. ALL!  I was thrilled with how much got accomplished in one week!

Wiring! In this one you can also see where the orange foam has been applied to the roof seams, and also where the fridge vents cut-outs are. We covered them back up so it’s not so cold inside, since I’m not ready to install the fridge yet.

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And insulation! We faced the foil towards the outside on the first layer (to reflect back the sun’s heat in summer) and faced it towards the room on the last layer (to reflect back the heat in winter) Well that’s the idea anyway. Hopefully it’ll work that way.

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So here’s the living room setup. Notice the wall bed. It will be disguised with nice pine paneling later.

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The bed base extends 7.5″ out from the wall (because my mattress is 7″ thick) and there will be a shallow bookcase under that behind the chairs, against the back wall. It will have a small drop-down dining/game table that will go between the chairs. When the bed is lowered, it just clears the top of the chair backs. With the mattress on, it is 40″ from the floor, so I can easily climb up on my little 2-step ladder, though I will be making (hopefully) a clever end table that converts into steps at night. The wood on the wall is what I’ll use to finish all the walls in that room.  The TV will be mounted on the wall above the bed.

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I have discovered something wonderful! Keto Pizza! It’s not as good as pizza with a real crust, but to someone whose lips haven’t touched pizza for 9 months, it’s fantastic! No, not one of those nasty cauliflower crusts, either. I don’t eat things that look like cancer. The crust is made of mozzarella cheese! You let that melt together, then add the pizza sauce and whatever else you like (for me, it’s bell peppers and pepperoni) and more cheese on top. I like to use whole milk mozzarella but I found out that was a big mistake. It’s way too wet. I was blotting and blotting the liquid that oozed out! It’s better to use part skim mozz or provolone for the crust at least. I make it in my tiny 4″ egg frypan and it’s the perfect size.  I’ve been eating a lot of it lately…..I’ve gotten into a rut and tend to eat the same things over and over, so this is a wonderful change, and when I do a finger-stick 2 hours afterward, my glucose is never over 100 after eating this and a salad. Tonight it was 79! Intermittent Fasting has actually cured my Insulin Resistance, but that’s a story for another time.

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I’m down 72 pounds! Very nearly two full 20# propane tanks’ worth of weight….a full tank weighs 37#. Can you imagine toting around two of those suckers 24/7?!! Wow. That’s a lot. People are starting to bug me about being “thin enough” but I think they’re just not used to seeing me at a normal weight. I still have another 9# to go before I get to a normal BMI, or to hit even the top of the Ideal Weight charts! I’d like to go maybe 10# beyond that point, because I’m sure when I ease up on the diet, I’ll gain some back. I’m great at losing weight, but I’ve always been bad at keeping it off. I hope to do better this time. (I say that every time). I sure hate all this excess skin though. My face is so wrinkled, I look at least ten years older than my age. Sigh.  My fault entirely; if I hadn’t stretched it all out so badly and waited so long to lose the weight, I wouldn’t be dealing with this now.

We are expecting nasty weather for the next three days & nights. Windy with rain and snow showers; perhaps a little bit of accumulation. I won’t be able to cut the foam insulation because it has to be done outside. So an enforced vacation. I don’t mind taking a few days to read, but I really REALLY wanted to move in before my birthday next week, which means I’ll have to work my butt off Saturday-Tuesday to get it done. In most of the rest of the house, it’ll just be one layer of 1.5″ foam because that’s all I could afford to buy. It should be fine for the winter, but I’ll need to finish insulating before the hot weather hits.  I can’t WAIT to move in! Every time I go over there I’m struck with how spacious it seems! I know that’ll sound crazy to you folks who have adult-sized homes, but the tiny house is 1 1/2 times as big a space as I’ve been living in for the past 4 1/2 years!  85 square ft. vs 58.5 sq. ft. I’m also often hit with the realization that it turned out to look almost exactly the way I pictured it in my head for all that time when it was only an idea on paper. That, to me, is a miracle!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
Arizona Micro House Off-grid living Ownen-built tiny house Tiny Homes Tiny House Uncategorized

WiFi! Walls!

I finally have wifi here at the homestead!! I gave in and signed up for an unlimited ATT hotspot for $70 a month. It’s a lot of money and will take out of my building fund but I had been only using data on my Tracfone and spending $40-50 a month, and that was just for using email and Facebook, no book downloads, no clicking on cute Facebook videos or You Tube!  I’m thrilled to be able to use my Chromebook at home too, and not have to type emails on my tiny phone keyboard.

Awhile back I went to the library to use their wifi (which was usually super-slow or completely out of order) and there was a carpenter guy working on the outside of the building. So I asked him if he ever did any work on the side, and told him about my house and that I was going to need help with the roof. He said he wouldn’t mind helping, but he’d not have any time available until January. That was fine with me, as I had to build the stud walls. Well then the terrible weather came and I never did get any stud walls built.  I saw him again last week and asked if he could spare a day to help me build the walls, and he said he could be available on Friday and yesterday! We had both thought we might be able to get the walls up and a good start on the roof with two days to work, but it didn’t work out that way. Still, I am thrilled with the progress! It’s a house!

I had drawn out the stud placements for each wall, but Wyatt wanted the front and back wall to be “through walls” (full length) so I had to redo the plans. When he saw the drawings I’d done, he said “I guess you really DO know what you’re doing!” While I was doing that, he worked on figuring out a template for the roof rafters. He said he’d always built homes using manufactured trusses and not common rafters, but his dad called him and he was able to walk him through the process. I had tried and tried and TRIED and had gotten the top and bottom angles right, but I could not get the correct birdsmouth cut.  (The part that sits on top of the walls). I watched You Tube videos and looked it up in my books and nothing made sense to me. One method involves using trigonometry!!  And I flunked out of Algebra. Take the hypotenuse of the square root and……..well, that kind of stuff just makes my eyes glaze over.

So we ended up getting two walls built and the one long back wall erected that day. We only worked for 5.5 hours and I was so glad; I am really not able to stand for that long so my back and knees were killing me!  Here’s the back wall. As you can see, there will be three interior partitions intersecting it. Along that back wall will be the narrow bedspace, a closet, RV refrigerator and bathroom.

 

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Yesterday we got the rest of the walls up!

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It’s hard to tell from the photo, but from left to right, there’s a 39″ wide space for my bed, then the front of the house jogs out about a foot. The main house is 8×8 plus the 39″ by 7′ bed area. (No, don’t worry, my bed is not going to be the full 39″ twin size! It’ll be probably 34″ wide.)

I feel so lucky to have found Wyatt! And pretty astounded, because I’m not usually a lucky person. He’s actually a licensed general contractor so he really knows what he’s doing and since I’m off-grid,  he’s got a big generator to run the power tools and a gas-air compressor to run the nail guns which really speeds up the work!  He is truly a joy to work with…..if we disagree on something, he doesn’t just bulldoze his opinions on me; we discuss it and sometimes we do it his way, sometimes mine.  I can’t say enough good things about this sweet and lovely young man.

At the end of yesterday as we were putting tools away, etc. I asked him how much I owed and he told me he was committed to the project and that he was DONATING HIS TIME!!! So he’s not just going to get the walls & roof up, he’s going to be helping with the siding as well, which will be a huge help. And maybe more! I don’t know when he can come back again……we have to work around his and his wife’s work schedule (he’s got 3 kids) plus the weather. Frankly I’m glad to have a little break; those two solid days of work nearly killed me!  If it had been me building the walls, it would have taken a week. I usually work a little, then go lay down to rest my bad back and knees, then work a little more, etc. And I must admit, there is no earthly way I could have lifted the 11′ back wall into place.

I’m hoping the weather stays good (dry) for awhile. We are now back to normal weather, which is around 45/22.  The snow has almost all melted and the dreaded ooey-gooey mud has dried, yay! Roxie hated the mud as much as I did. I have some old pieces of OSB and plywood laid out as a walkway and she’d pee on them rather than get her dainty little feet muddy!

My next project is to clean out my 275 gallon IBC water tote.  I got the water delivered back in May, then took off for cooler climes for four months, so there’s still a lot of water left but it’s got THINGS floating in it!! I don’t know what they are but it tastes like pond water. I haven’t gotten sick from it but I don’t want to drink it. I was filtering it but the THINGS clogged up my filter so now I’m back to buying water in gallon jugs again. I guess I will have to hook up a garden hose and drain the tank, then add a little more water back in and bleach and use a mop to swish it around as best I can?? That would mean I somehow have to get right up on top of the thing. And perhaps I shouldn’t completely refill it next time, but just get 100 or 150 gallons for right now. (It costs $25 for up to 500 gallons) Once I get the house set up and start taking showers and using a kitchen sink, I’ll be using it much faster.

Here’s a link to Amazon. Feel free to use this link for access, then you can use Amazon’s search bar to find everything your heart desires (almost!) Thanks for using it! (You can also bookmark the link so it’ll be easier to use it in the future)

AcuRite Color Weather Station

 

 

 

 

 

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Arizona Off-grid living Ownen-built tiny house Tiny Homes Tiny House Uncategorized

More Weather Delays

I made it through the heat wave! We had temps of 87-92 degrees for several days. I coped with that by getting up and going to work between 5:30-6:30 in the mornings, when it was still cool. I could work til almost 9:00 before it got too hot. After that, I’d go out for only 5-10 minutes at a time.

Now the heat has moderated, but the wind is back! We’re having 25-50 mph winds for nearly a week…next Wednesday is the next day with winds under 25 mph. (This is Saturday and the 3rd day of wind) I have tried for the past two days to go out and work early, but it’s been already too windy even at 5:20 in the morning. Soooo…we wait, read books, play on the Kindle and computer and eat too much.  I fear I am becoming an Early Riser. I seem to be always getting up around 5:30 and instead of hating it, I guess I’ve gotten used to it! I’ve never wanted to get up early!

I finished the foundation beams and have the bump-out floor all done and attached to the main house floor. (I was going to say “big house” but that would be ridiculous!)

I’ve got the rigid foam cut and fitted between each floor joist.

Rigid foam between joists

I thought I had them all nice and snug but in the 50 mph wind gusts, half of them flew away. I had to crawl around under the bushes to retrieve them all and replace them, with rocks to hold them down. That didn’t work either so I resorted to putting shovels and 2×4’s on them. Also I had painstakingly measured and custom-cut each piece, but after they flew away I just plopped them into any old empty space, and they fit just as well. Hmmm.

So that’s where we stand right now. The next step is putting R-19 fiberglass batts between the joists, and I held off doing that in the heat because it’s such a miserable job, and I didn’t have any way to take a shower afterward. I went to work on an outdoor shower. I had purchased a pump-up pressurized garden sprayer and jerry-rigged a kitchen sprayer nozzle onto it, thinking I could have nice pressurized showers with that. But it only holds pressure for about 10 seconds, then it just lets out a pitiful dribble. So I ordered a nice 2.5 gallon solar shower bag from Amazon Advanced Elements Summer Shower

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It was the only 2.5 gallon one I could find, it got great reviews and seems sturdier than the rest, which is important since I’ll also be using this in the house. (More on that later). I got a large $3 hula hoop from Dollar General and suspended it with some light rope, and added shower curtain rings all around it. I repaired and placed two pallets under a likely-looking horizontal tree branch and I’ll use a $6 concrete mixing tub as my shower pan; that way I’ll be able to save the water and reuse it on my little trees and bushes that are suffering badly in this drought.I already have two $1 shower curtains so it is pretty much ready to go. OH. I just went out to take a photo of the concrete mixing tub and it’s gone! I had put a big rock inside it but apparently that wasn’t enough to hold it down. Bye bye bin! I suppose it’s in the same “black hole” along with my grill cover and bucket.  I guess I can take a shower and just let the water go between the slats of the pallet, until I get back to town to buy another one.  At any rate, I don’t think I can keep the shower in place in the wind or I think it will shred the curtain, even if it’s bunched up and tied together. I will have to figure out a quick and easy way to get the hula hoop up and down each time.

My plan was to not have a shower inside the house; just a tiny potty room. I was going to build a nice outdoor shower, but I can’t figure out what materials to use that would withstand 50 mph wind. Heck, we’ve had as high as 85 mph winds here! I thought I could use shade cloth and the wind would go right through it, while still being opaque, but I have found that’s not true. I use some small shade cloths on the camper and over Roxie’s pen and they actually do resist the wind a lot more than you’d think. So I guess I will buy a 24×36″ shower pan and make the whole bathroom a “wet bath”.  I hate those and swore I wouldn’t have one, but it really would be much more convenient than having to go outside to shower, especially if it’s wintertime. Instead of making all the walls waterproof, I can use two shower curtains around the whole room and hopefully keep all the water off the walls and window. I can use the bucket potty as a shower seat.  I don’t plan to have a water heater, so I’ll still use the shower bag I just bought and fill it with warm water, not try to heat it in the sun. At some point I could possibly bust through the back of the bathroom (where the window will be) and make another bump-out for a larger shower room. Maybe some day.

I borrowed the neighbor’s trailer again and went to get all the 2×4’s for the stud walls. It was one of the really hot days so I was on my way to town before 7:30 a.m. I thought I’d be home by 10:00, hah! It takes a long time to pick out 73 good 2×4’s! After an additional stop for a few groceries, I got home at noon. I unloaded and stacked them all early the next morning. The wind has actually been strong enough to blow some of the 2×4’s off the stack!!

My stud wall materials! 73 2×4’s

My camper fridge has given up. So far my strategy has been to wish and hope it revives itself, but that doesn’t seem to be effective. It probably needs a good cleaning; it’s been two years since I had that done. I guess I will find a tutorial on line and see if I can do it myself. The last time I tried it, there was one part that I could not remove but I’ll give it another go. In the meantime, I’m using an ice chest and blocks of ice.  😦

Here are some links to Amazon products that other readers have recently purchased. Thank you for using any of the links on this page to access Amazon for all your needs!

Kindle Fire 7 $39.99

Burts Bees Face Essentials Gift Set

Chocolate Dipped Insects

 

 

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Arizona DIY Micro House DIY Tiny House Micro House Off-grid living Ownen-built tiny house Tiny Homes Tiny House Uncategorized

The Heat Is On!

The heat is on! After 5 days of not being able to do anything because of high winds, we had two pretty nice days for working. And now we’re into a heat wave! Today is “only” 81, then for the next 13 days (that’s as far as the forecasts go) it’s supposed to be between 87 & 90 degrees!! You KNOW I don’t do heat! 80 is really my cutoff point, and that’s when I’m not doing any hard labor!  The average temp for this time of year is 75 degrees. This is exactly why I was so anxious to get the purple shed picked up and out of my way, but I really didn’t expect to run into temps like this until the end of May.

I guess I’ll just plan to only work a few minutes at a time, then rest and cool off. But that brings up another problem; I don’t have any place cool. I haven’t found anyplace better to put the camper where it’d be shady and still head into the wind.The Fantastic Vent fan does help but it’s no substitute for air conditioning!  I need to somehow rig up a big shade cloth over the whole camper.

In the past two days I got a lot done though, at least by my standards.  I built the floor framing for the sofa/bed bump-out, attached the hardware cloth, built the foundation piers and dropped it in place! It’s temporary; I did that just so I could make sure the foundation was right and everything was level. Now I have to pick it up again and permanently attach the two 2×6 foundation beams to the 4×4 posts.

The bump-out is 39″ x 85″. The finished interior size will be 34.5 x 77 and the sofabed will be 32×75.  The back is even with the back of the main house but the front is about a foot shorter, and it will not be part of the main roof; it will have it’s own little shed roof coming off the side.

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Oh how I love those nice clamps I got at Harbor Freight! It’s like having four extra hands. I don’t know how I ever built anything without them before!

My garden is officially dead and gone. It was warm last night so I left nearly all the plants outside in Roxie’s exercise pen, to protect them from the rabbits. Oops. Something smaller than a rabbit had a feast! All my dear baby tomatoes got eaten off at ground level, it ate all the buds off the marigolds, and it even ate the radishes that the rabbits didn’t like. Luckily the 3 little lettuce plants and two rosemary babies were inside the camper because the lettuce is kind of limp and wimpy-looking, and it didn’t bother the two green pepper plants.  If I have a garden next spring I’ll have to figure out a way to keep those predators away.

Here are some links to Amazon items that readers have purchased recently. Feel free to use these link to access Amazon for all your needs. Amazon has everything, you know!

Toy Storage Net for Stuffed Animals

Nature’s Truth Ultra Tart Cherry Extract

Alpicool Portable Compressor Fridge Freezer (I want one of these!!)

Hot Logic Mini-Mac Personal Portable Oven

 

Categories
Arizona DIY Micro House DIY Tiny House Micro House Off-grid living Ownen-built tiny house Tiny Homes Tiny House Uncategorized

One Step Forward

You know that old saying, “One step forward, two steps back”? Yeah.  That’s the dance I’m doing today. The great feelings I had for yesterday’s progress are gone.

Yesterday I opened the outlet valve on the water tank to see how it worked, and to make sure it was closed when I got the tank filled. Some water ran out! It was supposed to be a brand new tank, but I thought “Well, maybe they put some water in it to test it or something”. Didn’t think a thing more about it until this morning when I went out to wash off the valve so I could attach the thingie to convert it from 1 1/2″ opening down to garden hose size. I decided to catch that valuable water in a pan and use it to water my baby pinon tree. So I poured a couple pans of water on the tree, and it was still coming out pretty good so I went and got a bucket. As it was running into the bucket I put my hands into it to splash it around and get the dust off that area. “Hey, this isn’t water, it’s oil”!!

 I called the place I got it and he said nonchalantly “Oh yeah, it’s new but it’s got some MCT oil in it, it won’t hurt anything or you can just rinse it out.” Don’t you think that’s something they should have MENTIONED when I bought the thing????!! If it’s been used for oil, IT’S NOT NEW!!! Now I know why it was cheaper than everyone else around here. Won’t HURT anything!? It would totally ruin my water filter if I tried to run water with oil through there, and there are plenty of things I don’t want OIL in, no matter how harmless it is. (Including my baby tree that I’ve probably killed) I’ve already drawn off about 1 1/2 gallon and there’s still more in there. And it’s all over the ground and the wooden platform, what a mess.  I’m so glad I found this out before I took delivery of 275 gallons of water!!
Just rinse it out, he says. Sure, if only I had any WATER to rinse it with!! And I don’t think oil is going to come out without some kind of soap or emulsifier. So if I do put soap and water in it, how do I swish it around? Maybe a mop stuck down from the top, although now that the top of the tank is about 7′ off the ground, that would not be easy.   And is the outlet valve at the lowest point so all the soapy water would come out?? No, it is not. I would have to put water in it several times in order to dilute the soap that’s left in the bottom!!  I am SO MAD!!!!!
MCT is Medium Chain Trigliceride oil; usually from coconuts. So he’s right that it wouldn’t hurt to drink, and it’s actually very expensive to buy. ($30 a quart!)  But I don’t want it in my drinking water, and I don’t want to water my plants with it.
Also when I was awake in the middle of the night again, I realized my foundation is not good enough at all. What was I thinking??? I’ve got the whole weight of the house resting on just two 2×6 crossmembers!  I will need to add a support in between the existing two, with 4×4 going across. I should be able to do that while the floor frame is sitting in place; in fact it’ll make it easier to get the height exactly right.
And here I was feeling so optimistic about progress. Silly me, I totally forgot about the Paquette Curse. I’ve just taken a bunch of steps backward. My heart is down around my ankles and I just want to cry. I never would have bought that tank if I’d known there was anything in it, because of the difficulty of washing it out with so little availebl water. I’m probably going to have to buy some 5 gal. water jugs, and I don’t want to spend money on that! All I have is eight 1 gallon jugs, which normally last me about a week.
And I think I’m going to have to ask Frank and Tracy to lift the tank back down to the ground, and I hate to ask for help in the first place, let alone to UNDO something they just did yesterday!  Very discouraged right now.
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Arizona Micro House Tiny Homes Tiny House Uncategorized

Buh-Bye Purple Shed!

Just as I thought, the Shed Guy was waiting until he had another build in this area. He came by several days ago to look at the situation and said he was building a shed only about a mile from here! Then he came back two days later to get the shed. They had a much harder time of it than I thought they would…it took them over 3 hours! Because there were trees in front of the shed on both sides, they had to turn it sideways. They used big pieces of plywood on top of 6″ round fence posts as rollers. But as they turned, they also pushed it forward each time so eventually the shed was right up against one of the trees. I don’t know why they didn’t just give it another heave sideways but they didn’t….they pulled it out at an angle. They tied the tree back with a big strap so it wouldn’t break the window, but it still scraped all along the soffit….I think a little paint will cure that.

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Then they backed the trailer up and put a big ratchet strap all the way around the shed, and ratcheted it up part way onto the trailer. It was all very low tech; I thought they’d have a power winch or maybe even a forklift.

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Once they had it part way onto the trailer, they tried to pull it forward. Bad idea! At that angle, the back of the shed was only an inch or so off the ground. And they forgot about the 2 big rocks that used to stick up in front of the shed, and now were underneath it.

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So when they dragged the shed over these rocks, the back siding got pretty badly damaged. Oopsie! It’s hard to tell from this photo, but there were a lot of chunks of the siding left on the rocks.

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So here’s the house site now, all empty and waiting.

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And now I have to put my money where my mouth is….I have to build a house!!! What was I THINKING??!!!  In spite of having built 2 cabins, a houseboat and an 800 sq. ft. house, I am pretty scared. The last time I built something was 30 years ago, and I distinctly remember thinking that I was too old then. But I keep telling myself that this one is so much smaller, it won’t be too bad. I know it’s going to be very painful but hopefully it will go fairly quickly.

The next step will start today…..figuring out exactly where I want the house to go, and setting and leveling the the blocks to support the floor. I think I want it more to the right side so I can eventually have a little patio on the left, where it gets nice shade in the afternoons  It’s happening!!!

I bought a patio table yesterday! Lowes had a 40″ round glass-topped table for only $31 on sale, so I got it. Wow, I’m going to have a TABLE after 3 years without one!! And the best part is, it can even stay outside.

I started some seeds last week and some have already come up! I put them outside for a little while yesterday to get some sun, and when I went to check on them, all of the lettuce had disappeared!! Damn that Easter Bunny!!!  Apparently rabbits don’t like radishes, as they were untouched.  Luckily it’s early so I can start more seeds, and from now on I’ll put them either in the car, or in Roxie’s wire pen.

Here are some Amazon links to products readers have purchased recently. Thank you for using these links to access any other goodies you want to purchase from Amazon!

AKTIVX Sports Laces

Folgers Classic Roast Coffee 38.4 oz.

Oral-B Pro 1000 Rechargeable Toothbrush

 

 

 

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Arizona Uncategorized

Still No Progress

I haven’t written lately because there’s really not much to write about, and I’m depressed. The lavender shed is still here. Every week I email the shed guy and tell him which days in the following week are forecast to be calm, with winds under 10 mph. He never responds. This is a windy area, and spring is the windiest time. Lately we’ve been having 3-4 days a week with winds between 15-50 mph, and the neighbors tell me April is the windiest month! I can hardly wait to experience that.

I have just about concluded that I’m not gonna get a house this spring, it may have to wait until fall. I cannot work in heat! And for me, “heat” means anything over 75 degrees. Lately I’ve been calling it my “imaginary” tiny house, because I’m beginning to wonder if it’s all in my head.  Here’s the current floorplan. (It changes constantly!) It’s an 8×8 with a 3×7 bump-out for the sofa/bed. I like this idea better than having a Stage 1 8×8 and then a Stage 2 6×7 bedroom because I’m afraid I’d never get around to building Stage 2!

(Each square = 6″)

floorplan

 

 

I did get my 275 gallon water tank, yay! But it’s just sitting there too. I want to put it up on a platform about 3′ tall so it will gravity-feed to the house and I won’t have to buy a 12V pump that will use up my battery power. I got an offer of an old porch that would work great as a platform and am waiting on that.

I built an ugly compost bin out of some of the pallets laying around here. It’s not pretty but it’s functional.

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I’ve also been working on a big pile of sticks that are in my future front yard. I don’t know why anyone would do that; most of the pile is little sticks and twigs less than a foot long! But there were also some big tree limbs in there that I had to cut up into lengths that would fit into my burn barrel. Last week I worked about half a day burning a lot of the little stuff. It’s pinon wood, like pine, and it burns hot and fast so all I had to do was re-load the barrel every 10-15 minutes. The pile has gone from about 2 1/2′ high to about 6″ high now, and there’s just a whole lot more of the little sticks to pick up and move over to the burning area. I wish I had a wheelbarrow!  I had fun cutting up the bigger limbs with my handy Dewalt cordless reciprocating saw. It’s almost as much fun as a chainsaw!

I’ve also been working on moving the big unsightly pile of junk that came out of the gutted old travel trailer that was here when I bought the place. It’s spread out over about 20′ of space and it’s taking up the best garden space, so I’ve been piling it all up at one end, instead of having it spread out so much. One of these days I’ll have to borrow the neighbor’s trailer and take it all to the dump. I’m just not sure I can lift some of the bigger pieces. The other neighbor who made the mess PROMISED she would clean it up. “Trust me”, she said. Yeah, right.  Have you noticed, the people who say “Trust me” are usually NOT trustworthy at all?!  Funny how that works.

I am very excited about having a garden, after three years of wandering! I hope I will be able to stay here all summer to tend it, but it’s very possible I will have to take the camper and head to higher elevations once it gets hot. This camper is a hotbox without A/C, that’s why I was so anxious to get the tiny house built before May.  So I’ll just have a very small garden this year. My back won’t allow a regular garden; I have to use raised beds and I can’t afford to spend very much money on building them this year Maybe I can build one 4×8 raised bed.  I hope to have a couple of straw bale gardens as well. They’re cheaper; $10 a bale for the straw compared to about $20 worth of lumber plus a lot of bags of soil for the raised beds, but the straw only lasts one season.  I planted a bunch of seeds yesterday but probably will end up with only 3 or 4 plants of each thing, due to the space problem. Some things I can plant in Dollar Tree planters, like lettuce and herbs.

I have been getting up way way too early! Roxie is awake and wanting to go outside at the first sign of light. Usually it’s before sunrise even; there’s just a thin line of light at the horizon.  We have amazing star shows here at night; I love taking Roxie out for “last call” and staring up at the sky.  We are 130 miles from the nearest big town (Flagstaff) so we have very dark skies and gazillions of stars.

Here are a few Amazon links to products readers have ordered recently. Feel free to use these links to access other products at Amazon. And thanks!

Carpet of Snow Alyssum Seeds

Premium Reversible Dish Drying Mat

Spiralizer Vegetable Slicer

 

 

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Arizona Shed to Tiny House Tiny Homes Tiny House Uncategorized

Same Old

Nothing really new to report here, same old thing. LOTS of wind, nearly every day. That means they can’t pick up the shed; the wind has to be under 10 mph. A few days ago we had sustained winds of 45 mph with gusts over 70!! Crazy. I wisely parked the camper heading into the prevailing winds and I was so glad! If winds like that had been hitting the side of the camper we’d have gone tumbling down the hill for sure! We also have had 6″ of snow in the past week (3 separate snowfalls). But it pretty much went away the next day when the sun came out, and the wind does help the driveway and road dry out fairly quickly. Hate that the county still hasn’t put any gravel on my nice new road. I try not to go anywhere for 3 or 4 days after a big rain or snow.

Roxie was sick for two days! Don’t know what it was; she just seemed to feel generally yucky. She didn’t eat anything for two whole days but was drinking water, and she didn’t have a fever. All she wanted to do was lay around on MY bed and sleep! That’s weird because normally she’ll only spend a few seconds on my bed; she likes her bed on the floor. She’s always been a Floor Dog, not a bed dog, not a lap dog. So glad she’s feeling better today!

I am packing up the camper and we are leaving today for an A-Frame camper rally near Sedona. I’m not staying in the expensive state park with everyone else, I’ll be boondocking a few miles away. After being in this spot for 3 months it’s a real pain to pack it up! All kinds of things are in here that normally are not, and since I don’t have anywhere to store things, I’ll have to find a place in here to carry them. I also have stuffed every little crack and crevice with little bits of foam, probably 100 little pieces! I’ll never get them back where they belong. Maybe by the time I get back the weather will have moderated some. We have been having nighttime temps in the teens, and some nights the wind doesn’t die down all the way, so it tends to get a little breezy in here! I’ve been waking up to inside temps of around 50, even with the heater going full blast.

We had such a wonderful winter up til about two weeks ago! The days were sunny and warm, in the mid-60’s, and nights were in the 20’s. And now when it should be getting to be spring-like, winter has hit with a vengeance. I am quite worried that the spring winds are here to stay and I’ll never get that darn shed picked up! I can’t start the new one until that one is gone, because it has to go in the same spot.

Here are a few items that folks have purchased from Amazon lately. Feel free to use these links to access Amazon and do your shopping! I really do appreciate it.

Roadside Assistance Auto Emergency Kit

“Prey” by Michael Crichton

12 oz. Hanging Hummingbird Feeder